Serendipity Friday

*** Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

*** Have you shared your family recipe with FamiySearch?

*** Mayonnaise?

*** Merging duplicates on FamilySearch

You have, with the clicking of a mouse, an enormous library of books right at your fingertips and I’ll bet you didn’t realize it. The Digital Public Library of America (http://DP.LA) is a free, national digital library that provides acces to millions of materials from libraries, archives and museums across the U.S. Are you looking (perhaps without success?) for a letter, yearbook, military record, family bible, certain photograph or a certain map? It just well may be included in the DPLA holdings. And it’s FREE!


Besides collecting the names-dates-places of our family history, FamilySearch is collecting our family stories, memories (written, audio,video) and recipes! At RootsTech last February, at one of the opening sessions, a recipe card was placed on each of the 5000 chairs inviting each of us to share a favorite family recipe….. and to share the story of that recipe. Wanna participate? Click to


What’s a BLT sandwich without mayo?  Do you know when this condiment was invented? According to Wikipedia, the anecdotal history of mayo is this:  “One of the most common places named as the origin of mayonnaise is the town of Mahón in Menorca, Spain, where it was then taken to France after Armand de Vignerot du Plessis‘s victory over the British at the city’s port in 1756. According to this version, the sauce was originally known as salsa mayonesa in Spanish and maonesa (later maionesa) in Catalan (as it is still known in Menorca), later becoming mayonnaise as it was popularized by the French.”

Ever wanted to make your own mayonnaise? Dorothy Dean, the homemaker’s guru in Spokane between 1935-1985, shared the secret: “1 egg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 4-6 tsp lemon juice, 1 c. salad oil. Place all in blender and blend until smooth and thick. Store in refrigerator.”  Don’t know about you, but sounds like too much work to me.


Just because FamilySearch has given so very much to the genealogical community at large, asking nothing in return except that we all share our family trees, doing so has caused heartburn for some. One of the “problems” that FamilySearch asks us to deal with is the problem of duplicates. Ron Tanner, who works for FamilySearch, explained this problem to us at Roots Tech. “Think of ten kids having 10 kids, so there are potentially 110 people who can or might enter information on Grandma. See why merging is to important??”  To the computer, Catharine, Catherine, Katharine and Katherine are all totally separate names but to you and me they are not. We know that all could equally refer to our Grandma, right?

Please do consider uploading your GEDCOM to FamilySearch (folks at any Family History Center will assist) and plan to take the necessary time to manage/compare potential duplicates.  (I started with 1744 and I’m down to 1243! If I can, you can!)

Tuesday Trivia

Surnames; we all chase family surnames, right? And many of our lineage-surnames go back into Merry Old England, right?

“Surnames were brought into England by the Normans. About the year of our Lord 1000 surnames began to be taken up in France…but not in England until about the time of the Conquest under King Edward the Confessor (ruled 1042-1066). Surnames were not settled among the common people until about the time of King Edward III (ruled 1327-1377). It is now settled that all surnames fall into one of four classes: (1) patronymics, (2) place names, (3) occupations, and (4) nicknames. In summary, it was towards the end of the 13th century in England when surnames were generally adopted. Do keep that in mind with your early-early English genealogy.

(Sons of the Conqueror: Descendants of Norman Ancestry,”  by L.G. Pine, 1973.)

Monday’s Mystery

What is the place (in Washington, of course) fitting this description:  “Shaped like a flat topped molar, the (     ) plateau formed as an island in the sea. Then slowly rock beds to the south lifted and leveled off, connecting it with the coast range to the south. Now it was peninsular with ocean surging against its western side, a deep water trough ploughing before it to the north, and a long water arm hugging its east side.”

And a wonderful chocolate WSGS cupcake to Patty Olsen for being the first to answer “what are hops and where are they grown?”  She knew that hops are used in beer making and 75% of the hop crop is grown in the Yakima Valley. (There is even a Hop Museum in Toppenish.)

Patty, maybe you’d share your cupcake with Sonji, Gary, Kathleen Phyillis, Anne and Barbara for they all submitted correct answers….but after yours.

Spotlight on Skagit Valley Gen Society

On April 8, 2017, I had the honor of giving a “SKGS for 30 Years” talk to the Skagit Valley Gen Society group to mark their 30th anniversary. The board gathered in front of a lovely cake:  (L to R) Len Torset, Don Royal, Dottie Chandler, Carol Nersten, Diane Partington, Candace Stone, Hazel Rasar and John Hays (president). Marge Wilson was missing.  Several of the founding members from that day back in 1987 are still members!

The Society’s scrapbooks (kept by Don Royal) were out for viewing and a certificate of appreciation was given by President John Hayes to Diane Partington for all her service and help.

Barb Johnson proudly showed me around their genealogical collection, housed in the Burlington Public Library. (Note her “I Seek Dead People” t-shirt.)

Barb Johnson and Jin Justice pointed out to me their bulletin board display there in the Burlington Library:

Our new WSGS Regional Rep for the Region 1-North area is Nancy Bonafede, a member of SKGS. This is a great little group!

Serendipity Friday


*** I saw the Geico gecko…. and he spoke nary a word.

*** Spanish woman gives birth at age 62…WOW.

*** Have you read a real/paper book lately?

*** Don’t we love a happy-ending adoption story?


This is serendipty trivia for sure…… while in Maui last January, I spotted the Geico gecko basking in the sunshine on a rock. He was not upright; he was not big-shiny eyed; he was not looking at nor speaking to me; he was not a very good Geico advertisement. And he was not driving a car!!


26 Oct 2016, Madrid, Spain:  A 62-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy girl and encourages women in their later years to imitate her if they want to. Sorry, NO WAY would I want to……how about you??? Having a teenager to deal with when you’re in your 80s??? Yikes.


2016, AP story in my paper:  Adult readers in the U.S. still strongly favor paper over e-books according to a new research study….. around 65% of those surveyed had read a paper book over the past year compared to only 28% who had read an e-book. Where you figure into these figures? How many book-books do you read in a year? How many e-books?


19 Dec 2016:  “A mother’s search for a Christmas gift for her adopted daughter took an unexpected twist. Jennifer Doering, of Wausaw, Wisconsin, wanted to give her 10-year-old daughter, Audrey, a copy of her “Finding Aid.” That’s the advertisement that under Chinese law is published after a child is “found” and placed in an orphanage as an infant. So to shorten a lovely long story, Jennifer scoured the records and contacted international help agencies and learned that Audrey had a twin! Within days, they found Gracie (adopted by a family in Richland, Wisconsin), and the two sisters were meeting and talking nearly every day through FaceTime “in a cloud of tears and haven’t stopped talking in a week.” Don’t we all wish them a long, happy and prosperous life?!?!

Tuesday Trivia

Do we have tornadoes in Washington? And why so many in the U.S.??

Yes, we (unfortunately) do experience tornadoes in Washington….. KOMO news in Seattle caught the one on the right; one on left is from WSU in Pullman.

The Ask Marilyn column in Sunday’s Parade Magazine posed this question: Do we really have more tornadoes in the U.S. than around the world? The answer is YES. “The U.S. experiences an average of 1000 tornadoes yearly while Canada, which ranks second, gets only about 100. The rest of the world gets a total of about 200.” 

Why is that because? (The phrase I repeated endlessly as a 3-yr-old.) Marilyn didn’t say; do you know why? And do you think our ancestors would have so happily settled in the American Midwest if they really knew about tornadoes???

Monday’s Mystery

AHA! I stumped you this week! The question was: “Where in Washington can you spot Bigfoot?” I know; I’ve seen him!

If you drive from Spokane to Omak or Okanogan, going through Coulee Dam and up through Nespelem and over Disautel Pass (3552′), and keep your eyes wide open, you will see him walking along a rocky bluff up above the road.  (This is my photo.) 

Certainly, he is not real. He is a Virgil “Smoker” Marchand’s sculpture  and looks to me to be about 12 feet tall. He’s totally awesome and quite visible. It certainly was exciting to me when I spotted him for the first time!

We will try again: Today’s Mystery:  What are hops, what are they used for, and where are they mostly grown in Washington? 

Serendipity Friday

*** Washington State’s Scenic Road Trips

*** World War I Helped Shape Washington

*** Bird’s Eye Panoramic Maps

*** Outhouse Races in Conconully

Washington is blessed to have 29 officially designated National and State Scenic Byways….. perhaps your summer travels should include one of them?  You can request a FREE guide and FREE road map by calling 1-877-260-2731.  Taking a scenic byway won’t add much time to your journey but will add plenty of memories.


Did you realize that World War I helped shape Washington into the state it is today? According to Lorraine McConaghy, a historian for this topic, said that “expanding shipyards and factories, mobilizing the timber industry, and giving Boeing its start building airplanes for the Navy came as a bonanza for growth in the Evergreen State. Connections to the war can be found in almost every city and town, from statues, stadiums and parks to street named for President Woodrow Wilson. By war’s end, some 1642 Washingtonians lost their lives in World War I.  (Thanks to Jim Camden, Spokesman Review.)

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Tuesday Trivia

Know where a statue of the world’s largest egg can be found? Right in our own backyard, in Winlock, Washington (Lewis County). The 12-foot tall, 1200-pound concrete sculpture is not to be missed if you love eggs and enjoy visiting funky sights and places. In June, Winlock holds their annual Winlock Egg Days Festival….. perhaps a good time to go??

Monday’s Mystery

Today’s mystery question is this: Where, in Washington, can you take a photograph of Bigfoot in his natural setting????

And a freshly baked WSGS cupcake to Anne Grimn who was the only one to answer last week’s mystery……… The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, aka “Galloping Gertie,” was opened to traffic on 1 Jul 1940 and collapsed in high winds on 7 Nov 1940. This event put egg on many faces and made the national news.